Mattresses are expensive, and sometimes the need for a new one comes at the worst possible time for your budget. With some careful searching, you may be able to find a good used mattress for free. Start by asking friends and family members for some help; perhaps they have a mattress you can have or know someone who does. If that doesn't work, you will have to expand your search.
Hotels and Apartment Complexes
Stop at a nice hotel and ask if they have any mattresses they want to get rid of. Explain your situation and that you seek a free mattress. Even if a mattress is not readily available, the manager may be able to inform you of future remodeling plans or when they plan to replace old mattresses.
Talk to the manager of an apartment complex, a rental property manager or landlord to ask if a free mattress is available. In many instances, tenants move out of their rental properties and leave mattresses behind, sticking the property manager or landlord with the responsibility of removal. Your search for a free mattress could result in your doing a favor for a property manager or landlord.
Furniture Stores and Thrift Shops
Some furniture stores offer removal services when they deliver new mattresses to customers. Stop at a furniture store and explain that you are seeking a free mattress; they may have one in storage they are wiling to give you.
Some thrift shops prefer not to sell large items like mattresses, but that does not stop people from donating them. Check with thrift shops in your area and ask if they have any mattresses available for free.
Charitable Groups and Food Pantries
Check with your local city or county government to ask if charitable groups in your area donate mattresses to people in need. If one exists, they can connect you with a spokesperson for the group. If you are in need of a mattress because of a fire or natural disaster, make contact with a local American Red Cross unit.
While you may not be in need of food, food pantries are very organized in their giving efforts. Even though they may not offer mattresses to give away, food pantry volunteers may know someone who does have a mattress they don't need.
Online and Newspapers
Check online and print sources for free mattresses in your area.
- Websites like Freecycle or craigslist have sections for freebies, including large items like mattresses. There is no fee to join, and you can search giveaways for free.
- Do a search for a local social media group, many are on Facebook, that are organized to give items away or offer them at greatly reduced prices.
- Check online classified ads from several sources in your area.
- Look in the "Free" or "Give-Away" categories of the classified ad sections of local newspapers. Also check categories for "Household Items."
- Look in the paper for upcoming yard sales or moving sales in which mattresses are listed for sale. Stop by the sale close to the end of it. If the mattress hasn't sold, ask the sellers if they are willing to give it away. Some people may be happy to get rid of it instead of having to store it longer or move it themselves.
Use safety precautions when agreeing to meet a stranger from an online community or that you've contacted from a newspaper advertisement.
What to Look for
Even a free mattress is no good if you can't use it. Before agreeing to take a free mattress, inspect it for bedbugs and mold. If you see any of the following signs of bedbugs, don't accept the free mattress. But you can tackle mold and mildew.
Signs of Bedbugs
- Look for small spots of rust or red color on the mattress top, a sign that bedbugs have been crushed on it.
- Dark spots about the size of a pin head could be bedbug or other insect excrement.
- Also look for small husks about 1 mm in size, the eggs or eggshells of bedbugs.
- Look for bugs around the mattress piping, seams and tag.
Signs of Mold and Mildew
- Mold or mildew may be present as gray or black splotches or streaks.
- If the mold and mildew are not too severe, you can clean it with a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water or 1 part rubbing alcohol to 1 part warm water.
- After cleaning, allow the mattress to dry and air out in the sunlight.
If you can't find a free mattress, try these tips for getting a heavily discounted one:
- Prices on mattresses generally have a high markup. Try negotiating a better price.
- Look for sales. January white sales, Fourth of July and Labor Day usually offer big discounts.
- Check online or with the store to see if you are eligible for discounts. Some stores offer discounts for seniors and military personnel.
Ronna Pennington, an experienced newspaper writer and editor, began writing full-time in 1989. Her professional crafting experience includes machine embroidery and applique. When she's not repainting her den or making new holiday decorations, Ronna researches and writes community histories. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and an Master of liberal arts in history.